Those pregnancy cravings are kicking in, and nothing sounds better than a big, juicy chicken sandwich from Chick-Fil-A. You know you’re supposed to be on your best nutritional behavior right now. So, is it okay to eat Chick-Fil-A while pregnant?
Waffle fries, chicken sandwiches, and the delicious fried chicken nuggets aren’t the healthiest choices to eat at Chick-Fil-A while pregnant. But, Chick-Fil-A is one of the better options if you want fast food. Choosing the grilled chicken options with a green salad and a fruit cup, or a Market Salad with grilled chicken are really good choices.
Below we’ll explore the best choices and the items to avoid at Chick-Fil-A. We’ll also look at general nutrition, recommended foods, and the foods that should be avoided because they can be harmful during pregnancy.
Are chicken sandwiches safe during pregnancy?
When you’re pregnant, it’s best to avoid high fat, high sodium foods. It’s also important to control excessive weight gain and maintain a healthy diet during pregnancy. It makes you feel better and ensures the baby gets the nutrients they need.
Chick-Fil-A grilled chicken sandwiches are a great option during pregnancy. One sandwich has 28 grams of protein, 320 calories, 6 grams of fat, and 680 grams of sodium. And, unlike other fast-food chains, Chick-Fil-A uses 100 percent breast meat with no fillers or additives.
It’s best to skip or limit the fried chicken sandwiches due to the high fat and sodium content. The fried chicken sandwich has 29 grams of protein, 460 calories, 17 grams of fat, and 1400 grams of sodium.
With everything, moderation is the key. If you have to have the chicken nuggets and waffle fries one day, go ahead, but remember to limit how frequently you have them.
Is it okay to eat Chick-Fil-A sauces during pregnancy?
If you decide to go for the chicken nuggets, can you also have the dipping sauces?
Chick-Fil-A dipping sauces and condiments are all fine to eat during pregnancy. These sauces are pasteurized and able to be stored at room temperature when sealed. Pasteurized products are perfectly safe during pregnancy.
You should avoid unpasteurized sauces (such as homemade mayonnaise) as they may contain uncooked eggs or dairy products that can carry salmonella or listeria.
Is Chick-Fil-A ranch okay to eat when pregnant?
Chick-fil-A ranch dressing is also pasteurized, so it is also safe to eat when pregnant. If you plan to use ranch dressing on your salad, it is best to use half a pack instead of a full one. Ranch dressing is high in fat and sodium.
Can you eat a Chick-Fil-A cool wrap while pregnant?
Good news! The Chick-Fil-A Cool Wrap is another healthy option while you’re pregnant. The only caution is that the deli meat must be heated until it is steaming to be safe to eat. Otherwise, there is the chance of contracting listeria from the meat.
Can pregnant women eat Chick-Fil-A ice cream?
Yes, pregnant women can eat Chick-Fil-A ice cream. The dairy used to make the soft-serve ice cream product is pasteurized. It’s still possible to get listeria (a bacteria sometimes found in unpasteurized dairy) if the ice cream machine isn’t properly cleaned.
However, according to several former employees of Chick-Fil-A on pregnancy blog forums, the machines are clean daily according to company policy.
The best things to order at Chick-Fil-A during pregnancy
Chick-Fil-A has several healthy options to enjoy during pregnancy. Below are the best nutritionally balanced items on the menu so you can indulge in your cravings without guilt or worry. Remember to use sauces and dressings in moderation due to their fat and sodium content.
- The Cool Wrap
- Market Salad with Grilled Chicken
- Grilled Chicken Sandwich with a Kale Crunch Side
- Chick-Fil-A Chick-n-Strips with a Side Salad
The cool wrap has sliced grilled chicken, leaf lettuce, and Monterey jack cheese in a flaxseed flour tortilla. When paired with a fruit cup or soup, it’s an even healthier option.
- 360 calories
- 4 grams of fat
- 1030 grams of sodium
- 40 grams of protein
Market Salad with Grilled Chicken
The market salad with grilled chicken has sliced grilled chicken breast on a bed of mixed greens topped with crumbled blue cheese and a mix of red apples, green apples, strawberries, and blueberries.
It’s served with harvest nut granola and roasted pine nuts, and pairs well with the zesty apple cider vinaigrette.
- 570 calories
- 32 grams of fat
- 1020 grams of sodium
- 32 grams of protein
Grilled Chicken Sandwich with the Kale Crunch Side
Chick-Fil-A’s Grilled Chicken Sandwich is a lemon-herb marinated boneless breast of chicken with a juicy, backyard smoked taste. It’s served on a multigrain bun with green leaf lettuce and tomato. The grilled chicken pairs well with honey roasted BBQ sauce and the Kale Crunch side.
- 320 calories
- 6 grams of fat
- 680 grams of sodium
- 28 grams of protein
The Kale Crunch Side is curly kale and green cabbage tossed with an apple cider and dijon mustard vinaigrette, topped with salted, crunchy roasted almonds.
- 9 grams of fat
- 140 grams of sodium
- 3 grams of protein
Chick-Fil-A Chick-n-Strips with a Side Salad
The 3 count Chick-n-Strips, while not as healthy as the grilled chicken still aren’t bad if paired with a salad and fruit cup. Just remember not to have them as often due to the added fat and sodium.
The side salad is a bed of mixed greens with a blend of shredded Monterey jack and cheddar cheese with grape tomatoes. It’s served with charred tomato, red bell peppers, and a choice of salad dressing.
Nutritional information – Chick-n-Strips:
- 310 calories
- 14 grams of fat
- 870 grams of sodium
- 29 grams of protein
Nutritional information – Side Salad:
- 160 calories
- 10 grams of fat
- 170 grams of sodium
- 6 grams of protein
Diet and nutrition safety recommendations for pregnant women
During pregnancy, both you and the baby need to get the proper nutrients. You can do this by eating a well-balanced diet, and staying hydrated. It’s equally important to know which foods to limit or avoid to stay healthy.
Foods to avoid while pregnant
Foodborne illnesses are a primary concern during pregnancy. To avoid contamination with harmful bacteria, some foods should be handled with care and others avoided during pregnancy.
Pregnant women are more susceptible to foodborne illnesses. Here are the foods to avoid while you’re pregnant.
- Unpasteurized milk, yogurt, and cheeses – Brie, Camembert, or blue-veined cheeses can contain the bacteria Listeria.
- Raw or undercooked egg – Cookie dough, Caesar dressing, mayonnaise, hollandaise sauce made with raw or undercooked eggs can contain salmonella.
- Raw fish or seafood – Including sushi, oysters, shark, tilefish, king mackerel, and swordfish contain high levels of mercury that can damage the baby’s nervous system.
- Raw/undercooked meat – Undercooked steak, poultry, and pork can be infected with Toxoplasmosis, Salmonella, Listeria, or E.Coli.
- Pate/liver – Contains extremely high levels of vitamin A, which can affect fetal brain development.
- All forms of alcohol – Excessive alcohol consumption has been associated with several fetal issues.
- Lunchmeat, hot dogs, and other processed meats – Unless they are cooked until steaming to kill bacteria. They are also high in salt and saturated fat.
- Teas – Avoid drinking tea with meals. The tannins prevent the absorption of iron.
- Energy drinks – These are high in caffeine and not recommended during pregnancy.
Foods to limit while pregnant
The following foods and drinks should be limited during pregnancy to prevent adverse effects on your or your baby’s health.
- Caffeine – How much: limit to less than 200mg/day.
- Tuna – How much: limit to two cans or two fresh steaks per week due to mercury levels.
- Sugary sodas, juices, and flavored waters – How much: 1 per day or less. These drinks are low in nutritional value and high in sugar or may contain artificial sweeteners, which can be harmful.
Nutrition recommendations for pregnant women
A healthy diet can help reduce some of the more unpleasant symptoms of pregnancy like constipation and nausea. Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats will also promote baby’s growth.
You should also ensure you’re getting plenty of the following nutrients. You can get them naturally through your diet and they can also be contained in prenatal vitamins suggested by your doctor.
- Folic acid – Prevent birth defects –
- How much: 0.4mg per day.
- Found in: leafy green vegetables, berries, nuts, beans, citrus fruit, and fortified breakfast cereals.
- Calcium – Strengthen bones
- How much: 1,000 milligrams a day.
- Found in: dairy products, broccoli, kale, fruit juices, and some breakfast cereals.
- Vitamin D – Promotes bone strength
- How much: 600 international units (IU) per day.
- Found in: fat-free dairy, skim, or 1% milk, soymilk, juice, eggs, fish.
- Protein – Promotes growth
- How much: 71 grams per day.
- Found in: beans and peas, nuts and seeds, lean beef, lamb, pork, poultry, salmon, trout, herring, sardines, and pollack.
- Iron – Prevents iron deficiency anemia
- How much: 27 milligrams per day.
- Found in: lean red meat, poultry, and fish. Also found in iron-fortified breakfast cereals, beans, and vegetables.
Eating a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains can make you feel better during pregnancy and protect the health of your baby. Enjoy this wonderful time in your life and indulge in your favorite fast foods in moderation. Your body will thank you for it later.